Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s absence will hurt Melbourne’s pack but Jesse Bromwich prefers to see the upside of his teammate’s one-game NRL ban.
Storm were seething about the fact Asofa-Solomona was charged but ultimately accepted a one-match suspension, wanting to ensure he was available for week one of the finals.
Bromwich admitted it was a setback for his side ahead of Saturday night’s minor premiership decider against Cronulla at AAMI Park.
“But it can be a good thing,” Bromwich added.
“It could freshen him up.
“He’s only a young fella, he could have played under-20s this year. It could be good for him to freshen up before the finals.”
In more pleasing news for the leader of Storm’s pack, Jordan McLean returned from a serious ankle injury in last week’s loss to Brisbane and pulled up well.
Bromwich was thoroughly impressed with what McLean delivered in his 38 minutes against the Broncos.
“He was very strong out there and did some good things for us,” Bromwich said of his fellow prop.
“He’s got a good opportunity to build some momentum going into the finals and we come up against a big team this week and Macca could do a big job for us.”
Bromwich suggested his side would celebrate if they won the JJ Giltinan Shield, awarded to the ladder leaders at the end of the regular season.
But New Zealand’s skipper was more worried about Melbourne bouncing back from a rare loss and rediscovering the fearsome form they exhibited for most of the year.
“It’s very important we go into the finals series off the back of a good performance,” Bromwich said.
“Coming first after 26 rounds is definitely a massive achievement but there’s a bigger goal at the end of that .. our focus is more on playing good footy.”
Bromwich described a tough run to the finals as ideal preparation for September.
“It’s like our finals started early,” he said.
“(Broncos and Sharks are) very competitive teams so I don’t know if finals will get any easier.